100-Hour Method to Write the Doctoral Thesis

There are hundreds of guides on writing thesis for graduate students, for those who have all the time in the world to write it. But there is practically no guide for students who are drowning because they must submit the thesis in a matter of days or weeks, and do not know how to get out of the quagmire. The 100-hour Method to write the doctoral thesis shows you how it is possible to manage the writing of the thesis in 100 effective hours of work. This method is the result of the analysis of more than 4,500 doctoral and master’s theses.

In the article “Reviews do not deserve stars for honesty: Do you want a good review? Then write it yourself “, published last October 2017 in The Times of London, Ben Macintyre says that the only way to be certain that the book you wrote will receive the brilliant review it deserves, will be making that review yourself. As the book I describe here is in the process of coming to light and a bibliographic review may take months if not years, then, following the advice of Macintyre I advance making a brief presentation and brief description about the book and its possible utility. For the rest, I believe that the students and their advisors, more than the book critics, are the most suitable to make a judgment about the work that I present here.

100-hour method to write the doctoral thesis: Toolbox for the student (very) hurried is a text designed for those graduate students who finished the investigation and who have already analyzed their results; who arrived at the writing phase of the thesis, but who have no idea how to write it because they do not know how to organize the material generated in years; They are pressured to draft it and deposit it as soon as possible on the adviser’s desk and in the postgraduate administrative offices, before the delivery deadline expires.

There are more than 4000 guides and manuals on thesis writing for masters and doctoral students. These guides and manuals, the vast majority of which are in English, were intended for the thesis students who have all the time in the world to write them. However, among so many books on this subject, there is no specific guide for those students who are dying of anguish for not being able to write their research reports; there are no guides for those students who are against time and must deliver the thesis in a matter of days or weeks, and they have no idea how to get out of the quagmire.

For many graduate students, the most difficult time of their careers and the test of fire is the writing of the thesis. At least in the American university, more than 50% of doctoral students do not obtain the degree because they can not write their dissertations. These former students, who remain as doctoral interns and may never graduate, are known as ABD’s (All But Dissertation or Todo, Menos la DisrtartaciĆ³n); that is, they are university students who for years devoted themselves body and soul to fulfilling everything that the doctoral program requires – school payments, courses, internships, stays, research, predoctoral examinations, etc. – except for the writing of the thesis. For those students who are in a situation of constraint and there is no way out of the predicament, this method is projected. The burden of being an ABD is very onerous, that’s why they say in the United States, particularly in certain work environments such as university or technological research, that worse than not having a PhD is not being able to complete one.

100-hour method to write the doctoral thesis is not a guide nor a common handbook of thesis writing, it is a practical method to get down to work, to organize, “knead” and “cook” the material produced in the phase of research, manage the time remaining to deliver the draft, and thereby write the thesis in 100 hours of effective work.

The focus in the preparation of this method is based on original research sources. For this purpose they searched, selected, and reviewed more than 4500 doctoral dissertations and master’s theses from American, Canadian, English, Australian and Spanish universities, among others, from the ProQuest database -mostly-, and corresponding to different areas of knowledge, from science and technology to the arts, social and administrative sciences, and humanities.

From this material, due to its convenient characteristics and useful to the development of the method designed ad hoc for rushed thesis, a second screening was done and more than 300 dissertations were selected and analyzed more deeply, among which are the doctoral theses of notables such as Carl Sagan, Stephan Hawking, John Nash, Richard Feynman, John C. Venter, Paul de Kruif, Jacques Barzun, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King Jr., Douglas D. Osheroff, Eugene P. Odum, Norman Borlaug, Madeleine Albright, and many others.

The book is composed of the following elements: preface, overture, introduction, seven sections and five annexes.

The first part analyzes the situation of those who have pressure to write their theses because they run out of time and do not find what to do, and consider the advantages of being with things against.

In the second part, a guide is provided so that the student self-evaluates and weighs his / her abilities in the context of writing the thesis.

In the third part, we talk about the extension of the thesis, about unusual theses, and the six most common thesis formats are presented and developed.

In the fourth part is how to recognize and work with the different materials of the thesis generated by one for the thesis project, since the subject was selected to the results obtained.

In the fifth part, different ways of writing each one of the points of the thesis are shown and described, from the introduction and revision of literature to the results and discussion, putting different examples of how different doctoral students did with their own theses. Likewise, it shows how the project management methodology can be applied to write the thesis in 100 hours.

In the sixth part, several problems that graduate students face when they have to write the thesis are discussed, such as the writer’s block, procrastination, the importance of the audience, and the weight of age, since there are many people -mainly from countries like Mexico- that enter the doctorate at an age that for others is the retirement age, and with that they have to grapple while they study, research and write.

In the seventh part aspects such as authorship and multi-tutorial in the thesis (the latter is increasingly common, although for many this point is new), the construction of knowledge from the work of others, plagiarism in the thesis, and exercises such as the preparation of a mini-thesis to begin the structure of the thesis breaking with bad habits. It also includes a conceptual tool to measure and take advantage of the time spent writing the thesis, and take control of it.

Regarding the complementary material, Annex I contains 26 conceptual maps on different models and models of doctoral theses of various researchers and creators.

Annex II is a questionnaire to identify and combat the scriptural blockade, which is the most common and insidious problem in postgraduate students.

Annex III reveals the opinions that some thesis writers wrote about their experiences when having to contend with the doctoral dissertation.

Annex IV discusses the possibility of preparing a book based on a thesis that has already been used for its author to be titled, and presents several cases of theses that became books. As for example “Zapata and the Mexican Revolution”, by John Womack Jr., which was a bestseller from the moment of its publication. After almost 50 years, it is still being published.

Annex V consists of a biographical sketch of the author. The creation of the 100-hour method and the preparation of this book are supported by the experience acquired by the author in conducting thesis research seminars and thesis writing workshops for more than two decades, and by the learning obtained through supervision of more than 30 graduate theses.

In summary, as a toolkit the 100-hour method will help the student to identify, collect, evaluate and organize the information that for his thesis generated in two or three or five years of laboratory, field or cabinet research work; from the moment you selected the topic and raised the project to the latest advances and presentations of your research. It will also help you analyze, screen and select the material you have; will tell you how to set the 100-hour timeline for writing the thesis, and how to handle the writing project.

100-hour method to write the doctoral thesis: Toolbox for the student (very) in a hurry

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